The best way to find amazing guests for your podcast is to network heavily. There are so many great avenues to meet people these days, and there are so many people who would be great for your show.
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Become the Center of Influence Through Podcasting”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vince Massara, the owner and chief editor at The Book Summary Club, where he helps business owners 80/20 their learning with easy-to-read summaries and action steps from the world’s best business books. The Book Summary Club is an audible blog, with all posts being published as podcasts for his loyal listeners. Vince has also hosted and produced a number of podcasts in the education and business space.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?
I started podcasting in the education and business space. I am a trained teacher and was finding that running my own business outside of school was leading to some amazing results inside and outside of the classroom. I thought there must be more teachers in my position who are doing the same thing, so I created my first podcast to connect with other teachers who are running their own business. Now, it is a very different world as I run the audible blog at The Book Summary Club and the related podcast.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
The most interesting thing I found with podcasting was the connection that you make. I have hosted blogs before and been a writer for some time, but there seems to be an invisible curtain up when you’re writing. It can seem less personal. However, with the podcast, I would get so many listeners emailing me like they’re my best mate. Which, I guess makes sense, when I listen to a podcast, it feels like I’m a part of the ‘group’.
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The one funny mistake that jumps out at me was recording my episode introduction. Somewhere, deep in my saved files, there must be a twenty-minute recording of my trying to get my podcast intro right. Sometimes the blooper reel was longer than the show itself. In hindsight, nobody really cares about your introduction or how bad I thought my voice sounded.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I have been podcasting for a few years now, so I joined in late. However, I have hosted over 100 episodes and been a guest on many more.
Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?
Podcaster Influencer, Vince Massara of The Book Summary Club shares the best ways to:
1. Get Great Guests:
The best way to find amazing guests for your podcast is to network heavily. There are so many great avenues to meet people these days, and there are so many people who would be great for your show. Another method I use is to ask my audience if they know anybody who would be a good fit for the show. Some of my favorite guests ever have been recommendations from listeners. It makes sense, odds are there’s no better judge of guest than the people who are already listening to your show. Asking your audience also gives a great community vibe to your podcast
2. Increase Listeners:
There are three main ways which I suggest increasing engagement with podcasting. The first is to create a great engaged community around your show; that can include asking audience opinion on guests like mentioned before. Another way to increase listeners, especially if you’re a B2B podcaster, is to create a lead magnet, like a book, and promote it to a cold audience on Facebook (or something similar). Once you have a targeted list of prospects, your podcast becomes the main method of communication to your list. So, instead of sending a blog post every week, you’re sending a podcast episode. The lead magnet method might not make your podcast go ‘viral’ but the new listeners you do get will be your ideal audience. Finally, I have found great success using an audible blog. Giving blog readers an audio option to consume your blog can turn those readers who stumble onto a page of yours into podcast subscribers. Ultimately, you’re using your SEO juice to boost your podcast.
3. Produce Like a Pro:
Stick to a schedule of episodes that you can be stick to with your budget; keep not of the ‘with your budget’ part, because if you’re just starting out, you may not have a budget and you’ll have to do it all yourself. When I first started, my enthusiasm was far more advanced than my skill (and therefore, my time). After toying with the idea of an episode every day, I settled and tried producing two episodes a week, thinking it would be simple. Boy, was I wrong. I had no real budget, so I was a one-man-band — recording, finding guests, editing, writing show-notes, promoting, even creating the Pinterest-friendly images. The process took far too long, and while I improved my skills quickly, I couldn’t do everything to a professional level given my time constraints. I settled on far less frequent episodes and was able to create better content. The number of episodes you can consistently finish will be different from mine, if you have a decent budget, then maybe you can hire a team straight away and record five a week. Everybody’s number will be different when they start out, but just make sure it is consistent.
4. Encourage Engagement:
It can seem like you’re on an island when you’re a podcast host. Sometimes you see the numbers of listens and it’s hard to imagine that many people listening to you speak — especially if there’s not a lot of listener engagement. I find the best way to encourage engagement is to do it in two phases, those who are on your email list, (I have a lead magnet that I encourage readers to download) and those who aren’t.
For those who are on your list, you need to talk to your listeners like you’re their friend, not some radio host that is a million miles away. To me, there is nothing less engaging than opening your email, and it is some carefully written story with a million calls to action and gives the vibe that of an automated email. I don’t like it, so I wouldn’t do it to my audience. Podcasting is such a personal method of producing content, don’t ruin it be emailing your list like you’re talking at them and not to them. Every one of my automated emails is incredibly short, cuts to the point and asks a basic question that expects a response. From there, when a subscriber replies, I personally respond back and get the conversation moving.
Finally, with those who aren’t on your list yet, encourage questions. Ask for feedback and suggestions on how to improve your show. Ask if there is a guest or a topic they’d like you to feature. You’ll be surprised how many responses you get.
5. Monetize Your Show:
When you’re starting out with a podcast, the best way is to use products you’re an affiliate for as ‘sponsors for the show’. Make sure you choose a brand that fits the niche you’re in and will help your audience. From there, as listeners increase, you’ll have more opportunities for sponsorship. If you’re a B2B podcaster, you may want to avoid sponsors in general and replace that audio-time with progressing the prospect in your sales cycle (emailing you, or booking a free meeting).
From your vantage point what are some of the reasons why a person should consider creating a podcast series?
A podcast is such a personal medium of communication. Sure, reading the work of a great blogger is inspiring, and YouTube has an added visual aspect, but there is something about a podcast that is a lot more personal. I believe it is the places where people listen to podcasts; people tune into podcasts while they’re doing personal things. They’re driving their car, at the gym, on the train, walking to work, and cooking breakfast. Podcasters almost become a part of the listeners’ lives over time.
Nowadays it seems as if everyone is trying to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Are there people to whom you would advise to avoid podcasting and instead focus on another medium?
I am not an expert on every niche out there, so I can’t say “don’t start a podcast if you’re targeting xxx”. However, while there are a lot of podcasters out there these days, I don’t think it is a bad thing. There is a growing amount of podcasts because there is an increasing amount of podcast listeners.
So, while you can still jump on the podcast bandwagon, it may be a slower burn to get noticed than it was before.
If you want quick growth though, I still think YouTube is a better method to start — and you can always repurpose your audio as a podcast if it fits. While podcast listeners are growing, the number is still dwarfed by YouTube.
How has your position as a podcast host and a person of high authority, impacted your business, sales, and/or increased your opportunities? Can you share a story with us?
Appearing on and hosting podcasts gives an extra step of credibility to what you do. As a host, it is the single greatest networking tool out there. Where else can you get one-on-one networking time with your industries biggest names? I still find I get a greater ROI in regards to sales as a podcast guest, being put in front of a new audience can quickly lead to new sales.
This doesn’t mean that you should only be a podcast guest; both guesting and hosting work with each other as the best way to get your name and message out there to the right people.
What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself?
Binge listenable is very much in the eye of the beholder. Personally, the audio blog and related podcast at Book Summary Club is binge-listenable because they’re so short and you instantly get a next step. Every one of our summaries gives the three key lessons from the book and the next step you need to take to put them into action.
Where can our readers find you on Social Media?
Some of the biggest names in Business, Marketing, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a specific high-value guest (obviously still living) that you would love to interview on your show, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them!
Well, if I boost my education podcast up again for another season, I’d love to chat to Seth Godin about his thoughts on the changing landscape of high school education. Seth, call me.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights!